Sabbath’s Theater. Gold standard of excellence? The loop’de loop! As much as I enjoyed Sabbath’s Theater, I didn’t loop it and won’t likely re-read it. So no Mobius strip for Mickey. But I do appreciate the nerve-jangling verve of Roth’s prose. Raw, primal, abrasive. Like ripping a scab off one’s elbow or knee. According to Kierkegaardian typology, Mickey is the aesthetic type or character, with this addition, he’s hell bent on turning self-disgust into a self-sustaining sensual experience. A kind of Don Juan meets Jackass idiot who self-injures for the perverse thrill of it all. Patrimony. Rothian hyper self-consciousness is refreshingly absent. He achieves a powerful aesthetic effect through simplicity and emotional honesty, as well as the vulnerability that’s born of love between father and son. My Life as a Man. “Salad Days!” That’s where it’s at. Extraordinary. Gutsy writing about a writer who tells a story multiple times before he nails the sweet spot a couple inches in and up. Counterlife. A fantastic piece of writing about identity, anti-myths, and storytelling, about the imagination and its power to create fictive realities and realistic fictions, about the eros of language and the allure of the most beguiling orifice of all — the soft, plush, tender O’Keefian mouth! Portnoy’s Complaint. I have the right to deny the existence of liver! ‘Nuff said.
Riffs on P. Roth